Scarred For Life comes to Square Chapel Arts centre

An evening that celebrates the terrifying popular culture of the 1970s and 1980s comes to the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax on Friday 7th February, preceded by a free screening of a scary TV classic from 1981.

Scarred For Life‘ sees writers Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence taking to the stage to discuss the TV, films, music, comics, board games, books, adverts – and even sweets – that blighted their childhoods. So be prepared for a no-holds-barred examination of Worzel Gummidge, Doctor Who, Pipkins, Noseybonk, the Usborne Book of Ghosts, Horror Top Trumps, and ‘Daleks Death Ray’ ice lollies!

It’s an evening inspired by their hit book, ‘Scarred For Life Volume One: The 1970s’, which was published in 2017. The book has now sold thousands of copies, even finding a fan in Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson! A much-anticipated second volume, covering the 1980s, is due for publication in 2020.

“As an only child sitting permanently in front of a black and white TV, I absorbed a lifetime of scares in a few short years,” says Dave. “Including Tom Baker seemingly being drowned at the end of an episode of Doctor Who, and people being shrunk in an BBC2 showing of the old 1930s horror film The Devil Doll. My mum and dad’s easy-going attitude to what I watched absolutely scarred me for life… and I couldn’t be happier about it!”

“The terrifying opening titles to Shadows, an ITV supernatural series for kids, confirmed to my five-year-old self that the decade was going to be a tough one to get through,” adds Stephen. “And I was right! Violent comics, scary board games, bleak adult dramas and eerie kids’ shows all conspired to scar me for life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

“And, as a 49-year-old, there’s still a Public Information Film about rabies that I can’t bear to watch…”

The evening is hosted by writer and broadcaster Bob Fischer, who will be gently prodding Stephen and Dave to relive their most traumatic childhood memories, as well as chipping in with a few of his own… including the sinister star of yet another traumatising Public Information Film: The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water. And there’ll be a Q&A afterwards, for audience members to share their own memories of an era when children’s entertainment could be truly traumatising.

Other highlights include a Top of the Pops-style rundown of 1980s chart hits inspired by the prospect of impending nuclear armageddon, and Stephen’s pet theory that a vintage 1980s advert for British Pork has veiled undertones of cannibalism!

“As soon as I read the book, I knew I’d found kindred spirits,” says Bob. “I grew up being scarred of even the gentlest TV shows. Things like Bagpuss and Rupert the Bear left me feeling decidedly uneasy! But what’s really strange is that so many of us now look back on our childhood fears with genuine fondness, and a sense of warm nostalgia. And that’s what the show tries to celebrate.”

And before Stephen, Dave and Bob start their discussion, Square Chapel are hosting a free screening of a seminal piece of terrifying TV. The first episode of BBC1’s 1981 adaptation of John Wyndham’s classic novel The Day of the Triffids will be shown at 7pm on the same evening. Starring John Duttine and Emma Relph, it depicts the aftermath of a spectacular meteor shower that has left most of the world’s population sightless, and the march of the terrifying man-eating plants that begin to pick off the survivors…

“The opening titles completely freaked me out,” admits Dave.

“Yes, the sickly green colour, and the Triffid striking out at the screaming woman…” shudders Stephen.

“I think of these evenings as a support group,” adds Bob. “We were all terrified by these childhood experiences, and now it’s time to share them… with a few laughs along the way.”

Tickets for the Scarred For Life talk are £15 (£13 concessions) and can be booked via this link.

Places for the screening of Day of the Triffids are free, and can be booked via https://www.squarechapel.co.uk/whats-on/the-day-of-the-triffids-episode-1-1981

The Square Chapel Arts Centre’s Box Office number is 01422 349 422.

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    Located centrally, opposite Halifax railway station, Square Chapel is right next door to the Piece Hall.